Nadia Barnard – who became winemaker at Somerset West’s award-winning Waterkloof estate in 2014 – will be showcasing some of her wines at this weekend’s Women of Wine South Africa (WoWSA) Festival.
The event, which is being held in celebration of Women’s Month, takes place on Sunday, August 12 from 11h00 to 16h00 at the Candlewoods Boutique Venue in Centurion, and also features craft beer, gin and tequila made by women.
After matriculating from Bloemhof High School in Stellenbosch, Barnard followed her dream of becoming a winemaker and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture (BSc Agric) specialising in viticulture and oenology from the University of Stellenbosch.
Always in search of a great challenge, Barnard had an eclectic training as a winemaker with experience in many top Cape and international wineries, including an internship at Vergelegen Estate and a stint at Flagstone Winery.
Her pursuit of quality winemaking also landed her harvest internships at Balnaves of Coonawarra, a small family-owned wine company in South Australia; Koru Wines and Moutere Hills in New Zealand, as well as Domaine Laroche and Domaine Boutinot in Burgundy, France, where she gained valuable knowledge in terroir variation and the crafting of diverse wine styles.
A combination of destiny and good judgement brought me to the wine industry and ultimately to Waterkloof and it is here where I have learned the true aspects of quality vines and wines and realised that to live and work in harmony with nature is to acknowledge, respect and promote its intrinsic value.
Nadia Barnard | Waterkloof Wine
“I firmly believe in the biodynamic and organic philosophies of Waterkloof. I have been here since the cellar opened its doors in 2009, working first as an assistant winemaker before being promoted, and I can truly say that I know every square inch of vineyard on the farm like the back of my hand, and the amazing potential that lies within them.
An avid animal lover who reckons the best time of day at Waterkloof is at six in the morning, when the farm comes to life, Barnard confesses: “Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz are my two most favourite grape varieties to experiment with and my favourite Waterkloof wine is the Circumstance Syrah, which speaks of elegance and femininity.
My winemaking philosophy is one of minimal intervention. Fine wine is made in the vineyards. Just apply meticulous care and guidance and you can just let the wine make itself.
Tell us about one or two of your wines that will be shown at WoWSA
One of the wines which I am very excited to show is our Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc 2017. This is one of our organic wines which comes from a beautiful site on the Schapenberg – the perfect area for the varietal. It was naturally fermented in older 600L barrels and was left on the lees for more than a year. I will also be showing the Waterkloof Circle of Life Red 2015; Waterkloof Seriously Cool Chenin Blanc 2017 and Waterkloof Circumstance Merlot 2015 at WoWSA.
How did you spend Women’s Day and what is your wish for women?
I competed against other women in a surfing competition named the Vintners Classic in Stilbaai. I only recently started surfing!
How difficult is it as a female winemaker in a male-dominated a male-dominated industry?
Life is what you make of it. I have never had any issues in the industry because I am a woman. The men are very kind and always willing to help. I thoroughly enjoy working in the industry.
Do women bring a different touch to winemaking than men?
I have always felt that wines made by women do show a sense of finesse and elegance. We do like to smell and appreciate lovely smells from a young age which helps to improve our senses, I believe that this is definitely to our advantage as a female winemaker!
What do you enjoy about your job?
Working along with nature is wonderful. To see the impact that it has on the grapes and in the end the wine is truly magical.
In addition to the unlimited tastings on offer at WoWSA, guests will have the option of purchasing a wide variety of foods. There’s everything from mini bunny chows (chicken, lamb, fish, curry and vegetarian) served with sambals; cheese platters; lasagna with salad and paella to a taco station.
All wines at the tasting event will be on offer to purchase and drink with lunch as well as to take home. Wine Menu will deliver purchased wines for a small additional fee.
Music will add to the relaxed atmosphere and there will be entertainment for children.
Numbers are limited so booking is essential. Tickets are R150 a person with children under the age of 18 free.